Creative Writing Mattie Balagat Poem

Second World

As a Filipino living in Okayama, Mattie entrusts her feelings in the words of her newest poem, and in the familiar taste, smell, and sound of home.

Written by Mattie Balagat

Earth that remembers last night’s downpour,

a thousand miles beneath the crow’s wing.

Sunrise skids on patches of rice field

to the beyond, behind mountains—

             hills, really—

But always, there are mountains.


Maybe the clouds will stretch

to some lonely afternoon 

in the corner of a cold living room.

Maybe the morning dust

will fall like soft rain on cheeks,

while pale light pardons the sneezing.


In any case, there’ll be

the smell of garlic frying,

climbing to the ceilings.

And the odd breeze of the year-end

tiding in like a light caress.

Someone’s gracious arrival

the first notes of a Carpenters classic.


Bones and their rudimentary compass:

the map of a child’s eye.

This way distance will always be

the number of times 

the moon blinks outside the window,

on the way home.

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